Who Is Your Master?- Matthew 6:24

In this verse, Jesus concludes His series of related teachings, bringing us to the climax of this teaching and presenting the primary thing He wants His listeners to understand from what he has taught them here. He began by telling them about treasures, that our heart will seek after what is most precious to us. He then talked about good eyes and bad eyes, that what is most precious to us, what our heart seeks after, will be “before our face” or “in our eye”, that we will seek after it with a single minded focus on it and devotion to it. He concludes here by telling us that “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other”. He begins here with the Greek word oudeis, “no one”. We must take note here that there are no exceptions to “no one”, that what Jesus tells us here is a universal fact of human existence, all human beings are included here. The Greek word translated “serve” is the present active infinitive of douleo, to be enslaved. This Greek word is commonly translated as “servant” or “to serve”, which actually serves (pun intended) to lessen its impact. Jesus does not mean here that we make some external, emotionally detached choice to serve someone or something. What He means here is that we will be enslaved by an inner compulsion to seek after what we “treasure” with all of our beings, that we will be literally “enslaved” by what our hearts seek after, by what is “in our eye”. What is of primary importance here is Jesus tells us that “no one can serve two masters”, we must serve one or the other. He does not leave open the option here of serving no master, for it is a basic fact of human existence that all human beings (remember the “no one”) will be enslaved by someone or something. The choice is not whether or not we will be enslaved, but who or what we will be enslaved by. We will all serve a “master” (Greek kurios, master or lord), and the choice really boils down to one of two options, God or something else. Jesus use of the terms “hate” and “love” here tend to confuse us, for we normally think of love and hate as emotional things, but that is not how they are used here, and not the normal understanding of these two Greek terms. To “love” something here means to “choose” it, and to hate something means to “reject” it. This clarifies something else Jesus tells us in Luke 14:26, where He says that anyone who comes to Him must “hate” his family. Jesus does not tell us that to come to Him we must “despise” our families, to “abhor” or “show contempt” for them (our common understanding of “hate”), but rather that the choice to follow Him may mean being rejected by your own family, that it would often come down to a choice between Jesus and family, and the one we choose is the one we truly “love”. So what Jesus tells us here is a basic fact of human existence, that we all will be enslaved by someone or something, we will all choose to serve a “master”, and it will be either the true God, the God of the bible, or some “substitute” god, represented here by money, which is the primary substitute god among human beings. We may now summarize Jesus teaching here in these three related stories in Matthew 6:19-24, and we will do so by starting at the end. What Jesus tells us here is that every human being will be enslaved by someone or something, we will all choose to serve a “master”. Who or what we choose as our master will be “in our eye” or “before our face”, will be the subect of our single minded focus on and devotion to. Who or what we choose as our master, who or what is “in our eye”, will be most precious to us, and what is most precious to us will determine the state of our “heart”, will largely control the way we think, act, feel, and talk, what we “seek after”, our deepest desire. The way in which we think, act, feel and speak will determine what “treasure” we store up for ourselves. So what we ultimately have here is Jesus (the one who created us) telling us how all human beings “operate”, and that the most crucial choice any one of us will ever make is the choice of who our “master” will be, for everything else he teaches here about human beings flows out of that choice, the choice to “love” Jesus, to follow after Him and reject any other master, or to reject Him and follow after another master. The question Jesus here sets before all who hear Him is: Who or what is most precious to you? Our treasure is meant not to be something, but rather someone (Jesus), and when that someone is truly the most precious thing in our lives, we will have all of the “somethings” we will ever need here on earth, and also be storing up for ourselves treasures in heaven.

No Comments Gospels and Acts  //  Growing In Grace  //  Nature of Man  //  Salvation and Redemption

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